The Brooklyn Nets took another leap of faith this season. Hours before this year’s trade deadline, they parted ways with former NBA MVP James Harden and acquired 3-time All-Star Ben Simmons. In the days since the trade, both players look to be settling in with their new teams. Both Harden and Simmons were spotted at practices and sitting sideline at the games of their respective new teams.
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Draymond Green: Nets ‘Won’ James Harden Trade
Draymond Green, All-Star forward for the Golden State Warriors and former teammate of the Nets’ Kevin Durant, weighed in on the Harden and Simmons swap on his show “The Draymond Green Show”.
“I’m excited to see Ben play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry and Patty Mills”, Green said. “Like you give a player with Ben’s playmaking ability with his speed, the way he can pass the ball. His court vision you give a player all those weapons with his skill set … in my opinion, the Brooklyn Nets definitely won the trade.”
Green may have a point in mentioning the other pieces included in the blockbuster trade. The Nets also had to give up veteran forward Paul Millsap along with Harden. But in exchange, they received Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first-round draft picks along with Simmons. For the Nets, Drummond brings a much-needed post presence for a relatively undersized roster and the addition of a premier shooter like Curry makes the Nets an even greater scoring threat from beyond the arc.
Paul Millsap Seeing Increased Role With Sixers
As for Millsap, the 16-year veteran had seen career-lows in nearly every statistic this year with the Nets. However, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made a point before the Sixers’ last game before the All-Star break against the Milwaukee Bucks that he intended to play Millsap more in the team’s rotation.
“We’re gonna play him a little bit more tonight,” Rivers said before the game via “USA Today”. “He’s pretty comfortable in what we’re gonna run for him or what he’s gonna run in so, yeah, we’ll play him more.”
Still, it is hard to imagine that Millsap will have that much of a significant impact on the 76ers. Especially when the rotation gets shortened in the playoffs. And with James Harden’s contract ending this summer, and no agreement for an extension in place, the argument of who won the trade seems to favor the Nets in the grand scheme of things. However, the ultimate measure will be based on who wins a title first.
James Harden Could Make Sixers Debut on Friday
Neither Harden nor Simmons has played a game for their new teams, but after a cryptic message from the Sixers’ president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, it appears that Harden could return to the hardwood as soon as the Friday when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the Nets currently in a position to have to play a play-in game to officially make it to the postseason, the pressure will be on for them to overperform in the second half of the season. Their first four opponents are the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Heat. All games that could have significant implications on playoff seating in the Eastern Conference. They will have to be prepared for the challenge.